Kenny's troops dreaming of a double
Shelbourne 1 Dundalk 5
Dundalk defeated Shelbourne for the fifth game in succession last night, this time by a rout, to move into the FAI Cup semi-finals and within range of the unlikeliest double in Irish football history.
Thrown together at the start of the season by a manager, Stephen Kenny, whose reputation had taken a severe bruising in his solitary, unhappy year at Shamrock Rovers, this collection of one-time rejects suddenly look unbeatable.
A goal down on 13 minutes, Shelboune went two behind in the 19th minute – after which Dean Kelly missed a chance which could have offered them a lifeline.
Dundalk never looked back and by half-time they had a five-goal cushion – the pick of their goals coming from Kurtis Byrne, whose audacious shot from the half-way line sailed over Niall Burdon's head and into his net.
The first goal, from Richie Towell, should have been saved by Burdon. The second, a header from Andy Boyle, was preventable.
The marking was non-existent – just as it was for Pat Hoban's 33rd-minute strike, which was created by the impressive Towell, who would also get the fifth, heading in John Dillon's cross. And all the while Dundalk stayed true to their passing principles, ignoring the pressure of the occasion to provide ample evidence that there is, despite Giovanni Trapattoni's opinion, a league in Ireland.
While it hardly matters, Shelbourne actually played quite well in the second half and nicked a goal via Lee Murtagh. By then, Dundalk were already thinking ahead to next week's potential title decider against St Pat's.
Shelboune – Burdon; Gannon, Ryan, Gartland, Flynn; Hanlon, Cronin, Bayly (Sheerin 71), Brennan; Kelly (Tinnelly 71), Murtagh (Walsh 87).
Dundalk – Cherrie; Sullivan, Gartland, Boyle, Rossiter; Dillon, Shields, Towell (Mountney 46), Meenan; Byrne (Keegan 82), Hoban (Faherty 71). Ref – P Sutton (Clare).